There are several Chihuahua health issues that you should know about before committing to one. While the dog tends to be healthy, it does have specific issues you should be aware of.
For instance, while the breed tends to be long lived, some common genetic problems include Patellar Luxuation, eye problems, hypoglycemia, heart disease and tooth and gum ailments. Chihuahua health is a concern for all Chihuahua owners.
Luxation of the patella
is the dislocation of the kneecap. It is a common Chihuhua health hereditary problem shared with other small breeds. Patellar luxation can occur in varying degrees – it can be minimal or debilitating. Young dogs may be able to compensate for this deformity, but the condition gets worse over time. Most of the time, you will not notice the condition when the dog is young as symptoms of patellar luxation become obvious only as the dog ages.
The dislocation is usually on the inner side of the patella. The ligaments stretch over time until the patella is not where it is supposed to be. It then can "pop" in and out of place very easily. Immediate treatment is recommended when the Chihuahua is a puppy, rather then waiting until the dislocation has crippled the dog. The Chihuahua health can depend on strengthening the muscular sections. Patellar luxation is an inherited trait and dogs with the condition should not be bread.
Another issue with Chihuahua health is the "Reverse Sneeze." This is where the dog sneezes, snorts, honks and wheezes. The condition is caused by a elongated soft palate that becomes temporarily misaligned. It is most common in toy breeds. There are may events that may trigger a reverse sneeze including pulling hard on a leash, drinking too fast or getting overly excited.
Like in humans, Chihuahua health can be affected by Hypoglycemia. This is a condition where the Chihuahua's blood sugar level drops to an extremely low level, which causes "sugar shock." When levels of glucose drop quickly, the dog's body and brain are deprived of essential nutrients. Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, seizures, coma, and in severe cases, death.
Chihuahua health is affected by hypoglycemia because they are so small. They are especially prone to when they are very young. Hypoglycemia is can be caused by stress, illness, lack of food, or by using up stored energy without it being replenished.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Another Chihuahua health issue is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This is a collective term comprising a group of hereditary degenerative lesions of the retina. Generally PRA is characterized by night blindness. When both eyes are affected dogs eventually become totally blind. Central PRA (also called RPE dystrophy) is characterized by accumulations of pigment in the layer of pigmented lining of the retina. This results in day blindness and eventually terminates in total blindness.
Some dog breeds, including the Chihuahua, are genetically predisposed to formation of cystine crystals which are crystals formed out of amino acid called cystine. This is usually found in the urine and can eventually lead to stone formations in kidneys and bladder. These stones can cause irritation and infection.
Signs of Cystinuria usually include blood in the urine, difficulty and pain in urinating, and small frequent amounts of urine. If a stone completely obstructs the urethra, it blocks the outflow of urine. This is more common in male dogs than female, and may cause kidney failure, vomiting, depression, or loss of appetite.
If you have this breed of dog, Chihuahua health should be a prime concern for you.